Coming out – Part I

August 4, 2006 | 10 comments

What I can’t figure out is why that has to be found out on a blog instead of from the hemotologist?

Um…still not getting why heparin and/or lovenox is not an option here?

I think you should be able to find a hematologist who will work with your using NFP.

These excerpts from the comments to my last post were swirling around in my head today as I drove back and forth to yet another doctor appointment. I realized that there really aren’t a whole bunch of complicated, intertwined issues going on here as it seemed when I typed out that post last night. It really just comes down to one thing: whether or not I am ready to say that I am Catholic.

Because if I’m not Catholic then I’ll just use some sort of contraception (other than the Pill) and this whole dilemma goes away. I’d probably still do NFP but for now, while I’m on Coumadin, it would tie all this up neatly to have a backup for peace of mind in case I screw up my charts.

And if I’m Catholic and I truly have faith in the Church, its teachings on contraception and all, then it’s time to “come out of the closet” (so to speak). There really aren’t that many decisions to be made here if I’m willing to firmly proclaim my faith to any doctor and say, “I am Catholic. I am not willing to use contraception. I would not be willing to abort a pregnancy. These beliefs are non-negotiable, and you need to help me find a solution that accomidates them.” I don’t even necessarily have to switch doctors if I’m willing to be honest and unwaivering about what I believe with the ones I have (though I probably will switch for other reasons).

After all the spiritual flailing I’ve done these past few months it looks like I’ve reached a fork in the road. A decision is required. If I don’t have faith in the Church, if I’m not Catholic, then I need to just do NFP + backup contraception and stay on Coumadin since that’s by far the easiest option*. And, if I do have faith in the Church, which I think I do, then it’s time to start talking about it, and living it.


* To answer some questions from the comments to the last post about drug alternatives: aspirin isn’t strong enough to be used as a treatment for an existing clot; heparin requires hospitalization to administer (from what I understand — anyone know of oral heparin?) so it’s not given for long-term treatment; and Lovenox shots (a.k.a. low molecular-weight heparin) would cost me about $1, 700/month out of pocket and is not proven to be safe during breastfeeding. The main treatment options for DVT are listed here.


  1. SteveG

    Act of faith
    O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths that the holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive, nor be deceived.

    Jesus Prayer
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.

    Miraculous Medal Prayer
    O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

  2. Jennifer

    Right on, Jen for being so friggin’ honest. I could fall on my butt I’m so impressed.

    I’m going to be really friggin’ honest back. That was the tone of my UM. You’ve hit the nail on the head. This is about the no turning back zone. There are alternatives–you just have to tell ’em where you stand before they’ll give ’em to you.

    How (okay I’ll use it again) FRIGGIN’ weird that this particular predicament stares you down right now.

    It couldn’t have been more perfectly designed to make a person give up.

    (Have you read The Screwtape Letters, by the way?)

    I hope you don’t. I hope you stand up and tell them your non-negotiable terms.

    But no matter what you do—thanks for being 100% honest. I breathed a sigh of relief. I wanted to call you on it, for real, girl. This isn’t a medical problem.

    It’s spiritual warfare.

    Who’s going to win this one?

    I’m laying my bets…

    Praying for you.

    (BTW—heparin can be administered by injection at home these days–I know some women who use it during pregnancy for similar thrombophilias.)

  3. Theocoid

    I’m praying for you, Jen. Set your eye on the Truth and let Him be your guide.

    I’ll check with my dad (an MD with some 45 years of experience and three specializations) to see if he knows anyone who fits the bill.

  4. Blair

    Praying for you in this big decision! Hope you’ll be having a “coming out party” soon 😉

  5. Anonymous

    You know, Jen, people choose or refuse various medical treatments all the time for many different reasons. I myself just told my nurse practitioner that NO WAY was I going to take a certain medicine she suggested, and I gave her my reasons, and she totally respected that. I do realize it’s much harder to tell a doctor you are doing something for “religious reasons” because that line of reasoning is looked down on in our current science-driven culture/society, but I often have found that simply saying, “I have a moral problem with that kind of treatment, and I’m simply not willing to go that route” usually does command at least a little respect. I think that when you use the terminology “religious reasons”, people automatically start to look askance at you because it conjurs up stereotypes of ignorance and superstition and makes people think you are still in the dark ages somehow. To say, however, that you have moral or spiritual issues with it, doesn’t carry the same connotation.

    Now, I’m not saying you should NOT tell your doctor that you have “religious” reasons for not using contraceptives, I’m just exploring a bit of the possibilities of WHY it’s so hard to stand up to a medical professional and tell them that you have a “religious” reason for not following a particular treatment plan.

    Heparin can be given via injection into the subcutaneous tissue. Ask your doctor about it. Be prepared, though—it hurts like h*ll! However, the sting quickly subsides.

    Good luck to you in your decision-making. As I mentioned in a previous post, no matter WHAT you decide, unless you have a total hysterectomy or are 100% abstinent, there is always a “risk” of pregnancy. Just because you use an artificial method of birth control doesn’t mean you won’t still have to have faith in God to get you through whatever surprise pregnancy might result. No method is 100%. I think that all-too-often, people who comtemplate NFP vs contraception don’t take into account that all other methods come with a certain “failure” rate, too. The truth is, you will never be completely free of the “worry” about getting pregnant when you have a serious chronic medical issue. You will just have to pray to God to give you the faith to get through whatever happens.

  6. Choofy Mama

    Hi, I haven’t read your whole blog to know what is really going on, but a friend directed me here, thinking I could possibly be of help to you.

    I have a daughter who is 19m. After she was born I developed peripartum cardiomyopathy, and went into congestive heart failure. The cardios told me I couldn’t breastfeed. They knew NOTHING. Honestly. They are HEART doctors, not boob specialists, and quite frankly they didn’t give a crap if I bf’d or not, only about my heart. I INSISTED on calling all the lactation consultants, LLL, reading, researching ETC-just b/c they are doctors does NOT mean they are God!! I found out that it WAS possible to bf on some cardio meds, and safe, and I chose to do so.

    I also at the same time developed a horrible blood clot (dvt) that had traveled undetected to my groin/abdomen due to all the edema from my heart failure. OMG it was the worst pain EVER. I was on morphine for months.

    I chose to go on lovenox shots, 2x a day, for 8 months, in order to breastfeed. lovenox IS safe for bf’ing!! My daughter is almost 20m and still nursing strong, and I am once again on lovenox shots b/c I am pregnant with my 2nd baby (as a precautionary measure this time)

    So please, PLEASE don’t just accept something as being so b/c one doctor or even a bunch say so-most doctors honestly know NOTHING about bf’ing, and you really need to go to a true bf’ing source-LLL leaders, there is a great book of medicines that are safe with bf’ing. has great info, and the best source is a lactation consultant.

    Please do not hesitate to email me if you need help, advice, or even just a shoulder to cry on-when I get a chance I’ll read up on your situation (I’m in the mountains camping and have limited internet access, til we go home on the 13th) I will be checking my email, so again, don’t hesitate, I know what an emotional, horrible road it was, feeling alone, like i had to give up nursing etc-but i’ve seen way too many mamas give up nursing b/c “doctor said it wasn’t safe with bf’ing” when it WAS or when there was another option available that the docs didn’t bother telling them about or looking into. YOU are your best advocate, and I don’t think you will regret holding onto your bf’ing relationship-I know it was what kept me sane during the pain and emotional drama of my health issues.

    *hugs*, God bless, you are in my thoughts and prayers!!

    love, JEN

  7. rach

    Yes, they told us to abort when they found out our daughter had several birth defects. Have they not a conscience?

    I am interested to see how this goes… 🙂

  8. knit_tgz

    At first I read (diagonally) Steve’s comment and did not understand it. Then I reread it, and tears came to my eyes.

    Jennifer (the other one) is right. This is (maybe not only, but also) spiritual warfare. During the first year after my conversion, it was impossible for me to go to Mass on Sunday. I do not wish to explain why. I wanted to, but couldn’t (with the wonderful exception of one Sunday in March where I could and went, and in that day a lot of things happened which still make me think). I went every week, still, sometimes more than once a week, and explained it to my confessor, who encouraged me and advised me. I also could not get involved in preparing for Confirmation. I wanted to, deeply, with all my heart, but for reasons foreign to my will it was simply impossible. God walked with me through those times and one afternoon He “told me” a sentence from the Old Testament (Hear, O Israel, I am your God, who freed you from slavery in Egypt. You shall have no other gods before me… citing from memory) and not much later I could be free and start a serious and more normal Church life. Believe me, and believe Jennifer: spiritual warfare exists. May God guide you and protect you, always.

  9. FernandoDownUnder

    I realize I’m getting in on this post VERY VERY VERY late, but I’ll chime in anyways. I had a blood clot as a teenager on birth control, so when I got pregnant as an adult and they found that out combined with my biological grandmother having died of DVT after childbirth, they put me on heparin shots daily. I took them at home throughout pregnancy and 6 weeks after the birth. I never saw a hematoligist due to the cost involved. We were uninsured and paid out of pocket $400 to see a high risk OB once who said to use the daily shots of heparin. They wanted me on lovenox, but once again bc of the insurance not covering it, heparin was decided as the best course of action. 🙂

  10. Jennifer F.

    FernandoDownUnder –

    Thank you for that info! That is actually really helpful — it’s good to know heparin may be an alternative!

    Also, were you ever tested for a clotting disorder? Since your grandmother died of a DVT you may have Factor V or Factor II.

    Anyway, thank you for your comment!

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